WASHINGTON, Sept. 24 (UPI) -- Indian Defense Minister A.K. Antony will visit Washington next week for discussions on deepening the two countries' military ties.
Washington is particularly interested in bidding on a $9.11 billion deal for the purchase of 126 multi-role combat aircraft for the Indian air force, the Economic Times reported Friday.
If New Delhi approves the U.S. bid, it would represent a major shift in India's weapons procurement policies, as the Russian Federation has previously supplied the majority of India's foreign weapons purchases.
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates told reporters: "I had a very good visit to India last year, and met with the Defense Minister and met the Prime Minister (Manmohan Singh). We are looking to expand this relationship in ways that are mutually beneficial. But I think we'll also be looking at ways in which we can expand our exchanges, exercises, and strengthen-further strengthen the relationship that we have."